Social Media Campaign for Sharp Electronics

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Social media campaign for Sharp Electronics. West Virginia University's Integrated Marketing Communication master's program. Spring 2012.

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Social Media Campaign for Sharp Electronics

  1. 1. - 1 - IMC 641 Prof. Mandry 4/30/12 Final Assignment: Week #8 Social Media Marketing Campaign Sharp Electronics
  2. 2. - 2 - Introduction Sharp Electronics makes a variety of products for both the B2B and B2C sectors. In our case, we will focus primarily  on  the  brand’s  electronic products  in  the  retail  capacity.  Sharp’s  top  contender  is  the   Sharp Aquos LCD in the highly competitive television category. Just last year, the brand kicked off their campaign  “Big  is  too  small  a  word,”  spearheaded  by  ad  agency  Dentsu's  McGarryBowen  from  New  York   (Bulik, B.S., 2011). Despite boasting the largest LCD TV in the consumer sector, Sharp continues to lag behind other competitors in sales and finds itself unassuming in the busy and overcrowded online world. Sharp needs to readdress its business and social media objectives to better position its brand and increase profits. Dave Evans does a fantastic job of explaining the value behind brands emerging themselves  into  social  media.  “On  the  Social  Web,  participation  is  important….if  you’re  a  consistent   source of useful information, the community is going to assign some credibility to you and by association to your brand. That is what you want on the Social Web. The Social Web is not an advertising platform per  se,  but  is  rather  an  adjunct  to  what  you’re  doing  elsewhere”  (Evans,  D.,  2008,  pg.  192-193). For Sharp, they need to readjust their entire marketing communication plan. This includes mass media advertising, promotional campaigns, and public relations. Most importantly, they need strong and effective social media efforts. They should tap into the active online community who are so influential to each other on purchase decisions. By embracing a number of platforms and tactics on the web, Sharp can begin to meet their business objectives. Business Objectives Sharp’s  primary  business  goal  is  to increase sales while establishing a stronger social media presence. While doing so, we also hope to transition customer service interactions from traditional methods (snail mail, phone and email) to social media channels where there is direct, instant communication.
  3. 3. - 3 - Within the social media marketing campaign, we wish to achieve the following: - Increase market share by 5-7% by the end of 2012 o Metric: sales dollars o Success Value: 5% increase in market share - Go digital. Increase online sales by 15% by the end of 2012 o Metric: sales dollars o Success Value:15% increase in online sales - Create a sustainable  online  presence  that  compares  to  Sharp’s  competitors;  increase  online  buzz   and number of online mentions by 100% by the end of 2012 o Metric: number of online mentions across the entire web (news stories, social media sites, blogs, etc.) o Success Value: 100% increase in mentions Audience According to Alexa Rankings, the main visitor to the Sharp website is a 45-55 years old male, has some college education, and is accessing the site from work. Meanwhile, the top searches that help people find themselves to the site include: sharp, sharp tv, sharp aquos, sharp microwave, sharp electronic, lc- 80le632u, lc-42sv, sharp lacer printer, sharp usa, what is sharp aquos. Furthermore, the upstream traffic (where they originate from) is mainly Google.com with a very small percentage coming from Yahoo. The downstream traffic (where they visit when they leave sharpusa.com) is mainly Google while some browsing over to Amazon (sharpusa.com, 2012). Naturally, we want to increase the number that leave for Amazon since that usually means sales. Furthermore, Sharp will consider Google AdWords and
  4. 4. - 4 - concentrate heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) since it understands nearly all of the website visitors are coming from Google and search engines. By observing 44-54  year  old  men  in  Sharp’s  target,  we  could  imagine  that  these  consumers  own  homes,   have families, and want high quality but reasonable priced electronic equipment. They would be interested in LCD TVs, blue ray players, and home theater systems. They are educated and hungry to learn more about the category and its products to make well-informed decisions. These men are also social media savvy and love visiting review pages to learn about the best gadgets in the market today. For instance, here is one typical interaction from a customer  named  Jeremy  on  Facebook:  “I  have  a   question. I recently bought the 60 inch 3d 240 hz sharp aquos tv. I noticed some of my DVD's when a camera moves from left to right the sides seem to stretch out. Also when a scene is still the sides seem to  be  a  little  stretched.  Why  is  this?  (Sharp  AQUOS,  2012).    And  here  is  a  typical  tweet  to  Sharp:  “Can   @Sharp_USA please confirm if the 945 series LED tvs are still coming this year? Or has it been discontinued?  Thanks”  (@rx74ray,  2012).  This  shows  that  the  target  is  involved  in  online  discussions  and   anxious to be engaged. Since we know the age and some demographics of our audience, we can use the Forrester Profile tool to better understand the way they behave online. According to the chart, our audience is made up mostly of  “spectators”  (at  70%),  followed  by  “joiners”  (at  38%),  and  “critics”  (at  37%)  (What's  the  social   technographics profile of your customers?, 2012). This proves that the overall majority of the audience sits  back  and  reads  but  doesn’t  necessarily  create  content.  But  they  are  taking  it  in  and  often  interacting   with those thought-leaders and brands who do create content. This demonstrates how important social media and word of mouth platforms  are  to  Sharp’s  target  audience. Executed well, those pages will turn viewers into consumers.
  5. 5. - 5 - Opportunity Sharp has a very weak online presence at the moment. This opens up a variety of platforms which could potentially be used to interact with consumers.  That  said,  when  first  launching  sites,  it’s  often  better  to   focus on a select few, and execute them well, rather than trying to simply be present on all platforms and have very little activity. Remember, man power is required to build content and monitor conversations. One cannot simply launch a site and let it run freely. So, the most logical opportunities lie with the most popular sites on the web right now. These social networking and microblogging sites will all connect Sharp directly to consumers and spark interactions. Blogs are a great avenue to build fresh, new content and it gives consumers a reason to keep coming back. Posts are also a nice avenue to educate consumers on products or the industry in general. Additionally, a forum for consumer comments  would  also  be  a  potential  tactic  for  the  brand  to  use  in  this  campaign.  Based  on  Sharp’s   current image and current target market, these platforms seem to make the most sense to engage with consumers. Social Feedback Cycle People  aren’t  going to buy a poorly made TV. Word travels fast, both in person and especially online, so Sharp should first ensure that its products are of top quality. This is an essential part of the social media cycle  because  brands  rely  so  heavily  on  their  customers’  opinions. The Social Web is a great channel for users  to  share  thoughts  and  influence  the  buying  decisions  of  others.  “The  Social  Feedback  Cycle  is  built   on  the  feedback  and  conversations  surrounding  your  service/product  after  a  purchase.  It’s  driven  by   word of  mouth.  What  you  should  see  is  a  consistent  progression  from  awareness  to  purchase”  (Ward,   D., n/d). There are a variety of ways that Sharp can get involved in the Social Web and leverage these conversations to their advantage.
  6. 6. - 6 - The social networking sites are primarily awareness-related opportunities for Sharp. They each present unique ways to spread the word about products, services, news within the category, and touch on current events. Blogging is focused on the consideration phase. As a consumer, if  I’m  stumped  between   Sharp, Samsung, and Panasonic, I might browse the web to search for more information. A post from Sharp about the detailed technology in its LCD TV might help me in my final decision. This is just one example of how a blog might impact a consumer during the consideration stage. Lastly, a question/answer or review forum would be purchase related. This type of site would rely on the participating of potential consumers and ones who have already made a purchase. As long as Sharp produces high quality goods, they will expect praises and positive comments on the forum. In turn, other consumers see these comments from people just like themselves, and hopefully will trust the advice and buy Sharp as well. Having channels that touch on each component of the purchase cycle makes for an effective overall social media initiative. Touchpoint Map Although nationally known, there are surprisingly few touchpoints between Sharp and the consumer. There is little mass media advertising and few public relations efforts. Furthermore, they are present on the major social media channels but scarce throughout the larger Social Web. In terms of purchases, Sharp  currently  doesn’t  have  an online store but relies on retail partners. Below are some touchpoints both in-store and online: - Amazon.com o Channel: online o Goal: 25% increase in sales
  7. 7. - 7 - - Sears o Channel: online and in-store o Goal: 5% increase in sales - Best Buy o Channel: in-store o Goal: 5% increase in sales - Walmart o Channel: online and in-store o Goal:10% increase in sales - B&H o Channel: online o Goal: 15% increase in sales Amazon.com is the premier online channel for consumer goods. This is a natural fit for Sharp Electronics. B&H,  highly  revered  for  its  expertise  in  electronics,  also  fits  nicely  with  Sharp’s  product  line and mission. Sears, Walmart and Best Buy offer a great range of distribution for Sharp. These retailers target different types  of  audience  and  widen  the  potential  range  of  buyers  for  Sharp’s  goods.  Sharp  should  analyze  the   success of each of these distribution channels and consider a direct ecommerce platform on its own site: sharpusa.com. These direct purchases would require some addition resources, such as customer service employees and web site maintenance staff, but would allow consumers to shop directly after learning about products while visiting the website. According to Planet Feedback, there are a  great  deal  of  complaints  about  Sharp’s  products.  Some   consumer letters focus on not fulfilling replacement guarantees. This is a huge error on the brand’s  part  
  8. 8. - 8 - and creates negative attitudes among not only these buyers but also the online users who stumble across these reviews (Shared Letters, n/d). This issue needs to be addressed before the social media marketing campaign is launched. But on the other hand, some Amazon.com buyers had some great things  to  say  about  the  quality  of  Sharp  TVs.  “The  picture  is  very  bright  and  just  amazing.  Much  better   than  other  manufacturers  like  Sony  and  Vizio…When  watching  1080p/60Hz  sources,  the  picture  is   incredibly smooth.  The  240  Hz  refresh  rate  is  absolutely  amazing”  (Amazon.com,  Pierre,  J.,  2011).  This  is   just one example of many. Sharp must continue producing high quality products and continue garnering such reviews. This consumer generated content is most valuable to other potential buyers. Finally, some YouTube users have some great videos of Sharp products. Sharp must tap these creators for more great content so the trickledown effect will have an impact on other consumers. Net Promoter Score The Net Promoter Score is supposedly a great indicator on brand success. The study helps to answer one simple question: How likely is it that you would recommend this brand to a friend? “NPS is based on the fundamental perspective that every company's customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters,  Passives,  and  Detractors”  (How to Calculate Your Score. (n/d). The score of 9 or 10 would label the audience as promoters, or ones who constantly boast about the brand and continually carry on positive messages. Think Apple. A score of 7 or 8 labels the audience as passive. These customers are neither positive nor negative and do not help nor hurt the brand. Think of a long-time brand that is healthy  but  doesn’t  have  that  “wow” factor – Kellogg’s  cereal,  perhaps.  Scores  0 to 6 describe the audience as detractors. This means they dislike the brand and can harm it severely through their word of mouth messages. If a brand finds their score is in this area, they must devise a plan immediately to save their reputation and sales. If basic market research was executed for Sharp, I would guess the Net Promoter Score would be a low 7. Based on research online, reviews, and comments on social media,
  9. 9. - 9 - audience members do not necessarily have a negative view about Sharp, but instead, just  don’t  really   talk about it in general. It is a forgotten brand that needs to become top of mind once again to stand up next to major competitors like Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung. By identifying the Net Promoter Score, we can better devise our social media marketing plan and the messaging within. Channels Although traditional marketing efforts are still important, Sharp should place a great deal of emphasis on new media since it is inexpensive and where the customers are active. Rick Barnes at Inbound Marketing University discusses the shift in traditional, or outbound, marketing to inbound marketing, or techniques that utilize the social web. For instance, he says that print ads have transformed into blogs, eBooks and white papers; television ads have made way for viral videos on YouTube; cold calling has decreased while search engine optimization (SEO) efforts continue to rise; trade shows have turned into webinars; and email blasts have transitioned to Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds (Burnes, R., 2008). The former one-way communication efforts have been replaced by ones that are two-way that allow the brands to engage with consumers, talking to them in a fun way on a human-to-human level. For this campaign, revitalized social networks, a fresh, active blog, and a review/comment page will be developed to help achieve the campaign objectives. Social Networking: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube As previously discussed, Sharp will re-launch its current social networking ventures: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In addition to new artwork and information, these will each have more effective messaging and promotions moving forward that will help capture more online users and keep them interacting with the brand. A strategy will first be put in place. This will design the base content for the entire year and help to keep the information streamlined across all three platforms. Of course,
  10. 10. - 10 - unplanned, timely news and information will still be posted. However, these arranged posts and promotions  will  revolve  around  the  company’s  major  announcements,  philanthropic  events,  product   launches, etc. Having an entire year planned out ahead of time is a much more organized approach which is more effective and better for business. When posting content, Sharp should remember to incorporate  stimulating  multimedia.  “Beyond  the  portrayal  of  your  products  and  services  (by  you  or  by   someone else), you can also use visual content to document events, parties, openings, cause related events, or product launches – all  of  which  are  things  that  you  participate  in  at  the  brand  level”  (Evans,   D., 2008). This can be snapshots from in and around the office, videos of fun interviews, sneak-peak photos of potential products during development,  or  even  an  “inside-look”  into  some  devices.  This   stimulating content adds value to posts and gives people a reason to visit the sites. Moreover, Sharp should consider hosting webinars for trade level management (as opposed to direct consumers). These could be housed on the website while being powered through YouTube and promoted through Facebook and Twitter. It would be a great opportunity for salesmen and dealers to learn technical aspects  of  Sharp’s  products  for  when  they  are  trying  to  make  a  sale.  It’s  a  win-win for each party because more sales earn revenue for both. Blog:  “SHARPening  the  Pencil” According  to  Lesson  6,  “If  you  have  a  complexity  problem,  blogs  are  the  way  to  go”  (2012).  Why?   Because blogs offer a great way to develop new content, about both relevant and timely material, and share it instantly to the public. The most effective bloggers are ones that write with personality. Several Sharp team members will be encouraged to write but the important players will be the CEO, as well as the engineers  to  offer  an  “inside  look”  into  the  products.  Consumers  want  to find value in this content. Sharp must write about topics and information that will educate or at least be useful to readers. The “SHARPening  the  Pencil”  blog  will  feature  original content that covers: everyday life at Sharp, upcoming
  11. 11. - 11 - products, potential products, current events in the consumer goods industry and electronics industry, community  and  philanthropic  events,  and  more.  The  “and  more”  part  is  actually  very  important  because the  best  part  about  blogs,  and  social  media  in  general,  is  that  it  is  extremely  flexible.  If  a  post  on  Sharp’s   LCD TV was scheduled to go out today but a competing brand just announced its bankruptcy and the CEO wants to discuss how it will affect Sharp, then he should go for it. Following up on timely current events will always bring more traffic to the site. This ability to always be timely is vital to social media. In addition to building a library of content over time, which helps with SEO and web searches, there are a great  deal  of  people  out  there  who  seek  out  this  type  of  fresh  material.    “Blog  reading  is  one  of  the  most   popular  activities  in  the  groundswell,  with  nearly  one  in  three  online  Americans  reading  blogs…In  Japan   it’s  even  more  popular;  more  than  half  of  online  adults  read  blogs  at  least  monthly”  (Evans,  D.,  2008).   Sharp’s  consumers  will  enjoy  the  unique  content  and  the  ability  to  interact  with  the  upper  management.   The team will closely monitor comments and make sure to respond to each one personally. Comments will also be enabled to be voted upon so those that receive the highest number of votes will appear at the top. This will help the Sharp team more easily identify important issues among the crowd. Questions will also be posted within the blog to stimulate responses. Reviews and Comments:  “Sharp  Shots” Word of mouth will always be the most powerful influencer. And that is even truer when dealing with a sizable  purchase  like  the  electronic  equipment  in  Sharp’s  portfolio.  “Reviews,  ratings  and   recommendations are extremely important. People have always wanted to know if others were happy with  their  purchases”  (Ward,  D.,  n/d).  “Sharp  Shots”  is  the  name  of  the  microsite  extension  from  the   Sharp website which houses product reviews and suggested product ideas. This is a great vehicle for consumers to learn about products before they make a purchase and make much needed critiques of things that Sharp needs to improve. Essentially, this is free market research for the company. There will
  12. 12. - 12 - always be negative commenter which Sharp will respond to appropriately. But the real value comes from  those  praising  the  products.    “Gladwell  refers  to  these  energized  individuals  as  Connectors,   Mavens and Salesmen. Connectors are highly social people who are linked to many other people and have the ability to spread ideas and messages rapidly due to their connections. Mavens are the experts and information gatherers; they have the knowledge and social skills to start word-of-mouth epidemics. Finally,  salesmen  are  the  persuaders  who  spread  ideas  to  larger  and  larger  groups”  (Lesson 6, 2012). These brand advocates come from satisfied purchases and positive interactions with the brand. If Sharp pleases on the store level, it will reap fantastic reviews that will turn into even more sales online. On the “Sharp  Shots”  review  page,  Sharp will continually be accepting comments and suggestions while communicating with those submitters to create loyal relationships. These who write reviews and comments will, in turn, promote the brand on their personal social media channels and the domino effects  will  strengthen  Sharp’s  image  within  the entire online community. The page is a great avenue to also offer customer service. Negative reviews can be resolved and replacement products can be sent out. No more waiting on the telephone for hours or submitting a snail mail letter hoping for a response. The  “Sharp  Shots”  page  grants  customers  instant  access  to  staff  members.  “Sharp  Shots”  will  greatly   enhance the online experience and educate consumers to make more well-informed decision in their purchases. Metrics The greatest misconception among [naive] social media marketers is that social media is free. Although low-cost (on the surface) compared to traditional marketing methods, social media tactics are far from free. Often times advertising is involved, at first anyway to help build a solid fan base. Pay per click (PPC) ads are effective but cost money. Additionally, professional artwork and sometimes programming (depending on promotions) is needed. Finally, one cannot overlook the time and talent that is required
  13. 13. - 13 - to effectively manage these types of sites. Depending on the size of the company, an entire position must be filled to strictly manage social media, and for larger companies, an entire team. Because of these indirect costs, social media managers must still, like any other spending, measure the return on investment (RIO). For a traditional print ad, one pays the fee, runs the ad, obtains impressions, and can simply do simple math to calculate the ROI, or the amount spent per person who has viewed the ad. Social media is a bit more complicated. Impressions (or views/clicks in our case) are helpful, but are not always the most accurate by themselves. With social media, we are building an online community who will develop a loyal relationship with the brand. Additional metrics must be used to help gauge the success level of the campaign. Moreover, marketers must always keep their eyes on the prize, or rather, their foremost business objectives and the bottom line. Like any business investment, tactics must always be compared to the overall goal. The metrics being used now are very basic: likes, follows and video views from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, respectively. This is a very rudimentary approach to analytics  and  we’ll  want  to  go  a  few  steps  further during our campaign to better gauge the success level and return on investment. Below is what we will measure for each social network or website: Twitter: mentions, retweets, followers, listed, hits from links YouTube: subscribers, video views, in-bound links, number of times videos have been embedded Facebook: fans, talking about, shares on each post, hits from links Blog: post views, Facebook shares, tweets, Google+ shares, in-bound links, comments Review page: Submissions, votes, comments, in-bound links, sentiment value of comments Corporate site: unique visitors, in-bound links, previous site viewed, post site viewed Furthermore, we must thoroughly dive into our metrics to compare them to our overall objectives.
  14. 14. - 14 - For the first campaign objective, our metric is in sales dollars. We will examine the market share before the campaign begins, throughout the campaign, and at the conclusion of 2012. Our hope is that the interactions online will help to educate consumers and build a loyal fan-base. This in turn will help them decide on Sharp when shopping and faced with four to five different competing brands. That well- written blog post or positive review might just be the tipping point to push them towards a Sharp product. Meanwhile, the online channels will drive consumers to the online store pages where they can make a purchase, again affecting sales. This leads nicely into the second objective which is to specifically increase online sales. It is common these days to make purchases online without seeing or touching a product. So why is Sharp struggling compared to other brands? They need to first sell their image and then create a community which backs the products and reassures customers to have confidence in that purchase decision. The social media channels,  the  blog  post,  and  review  site  will  all  help  in  this  effort.  And  this  doesn’t  even  mention  the  cost   savings in digital sales vs in-store purchases. This will impact the bottom line and affect market share value. We will track the number of online purchases and also use bit.ly to track leads. This URL shortening service will allow us to see where the leads originate and what material is making consumers most interested in a purchase. Finally, the third objective is to double the number of overall online mentions. Public relations plays a powerful role in a marketing campaign – think of the influence from news stories and reporters. Now think of the vast web with bloggers and Twitterers and how those messages can not only raise awareness  about  a  brand  but  strengthen  the  image  if  it’s  positive  messaging.  By  increasing  the  number   of mentions by 100%, Sharp can get back to being top of mind among consumers, especially among those who have written them off as a low-tier, forgotten brand. Sharp needs to be in the same
  15. 15. - 15 - conversations as Panasonic, Sony and Samsung. To do this, social media will be rampant, blogs will be engaging and interesting, and the review page will be active. We will measure the social media activity through bit.ly, the online link tracker. Here we can see geographic origin of those who clicked, what social media service they used to arrive there, and those who are reacting on the social web. Our second tool, Google Analytics, will be used for the blog and review pages. This reveals the number of views, how they arrived on the page, geographic origin, keywords used in helping those arrive there, among other statistics. We will also use Technoati and Google Blogs to track down blog posts about Sharp and its competitors to respond appropriately. Together, these initiatives will help meet the three campaign objectives while increasing market share and meeting the business goal. Moreover, customer service will be transitioned from traditional methods to Twitter, Facebook and a quick chat tool on the site. These will provide instantly Q&A interactions among knowledgeable staff and curious customers. Conclusion In this social media marketing campaign, Sharp needs to stimulate conversations among its target audience  while  reinforcing  its  positioning  in  the  marketplace.  It’s  an  intelligent  move  to  have  a  variety  of   tactics because everyone on the social web behaves differently. The social media tactics within the campaign allows for each member of the social media technographic profile to join in and help to rebuild the brand. Like any marketing communication effort, social media must be measured against the business objective(s) to help gauge its impact. Do I need to hire more staff to make these efforts worthwhile? Do the sites benefit us enough to maintain these sites moving forward? Are the sites helping to connect with consumer and translating into sales? Through close attention to metrics from a variety of tools, the marketing team can better gauge the success level and ROI of this campaign. The target audience for Sharp is men 44-54  years  old.  They  like  technology  and  their  “toys”  and  also  like   acting as spectators on the social web since it is a great source of information when planning a purchase.
  16. 16. - 16 - This insight helps to tailor messaging, artwork and online features to provide a better experience for the customer. By tracking internal sales figures and by using tools like bit.ly and Google Analytics, Sharp can get a better grasp on its consumers and how they are interacting with the pages. The research completed on the target market, coupled with strategic execution of the channels and closely monitored metrics, will help make for a successful social media marketing campaign for Sharp Electronics. Sources @rx74ray. (2012, April 4). Twitter.com. Retrieved on April 26, 2012 from https://twitter.com/#!/rx74ray Bernoff, J., Li, C., (2011). Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press. Bulik, B.S., (2011, May 26). Sharp Electronics to men: you need 70 inches of TV. Advertising Age. Retrieved on March 22, 2012 from http://adage.com/article/news/sharp-electronics-men-70- inch-tv-screen/227752/ Burnes, R. (2008, November 18). Inbound marketing & the next phase of marketing on the web. Retrieved from WVU eReserve on April 18, 2012 from https://reserves.lib.wvu.edu/engineIncludes/download.php?id=1126426405 Evans, D. (2008). Social Media Marketing. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing Inc. Furrier, J. (2011, December 7). Future of advertising is data: Facebook's numbers staggering - 800 million users; 500 million active per day. Retrieved on March 22, 2012 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/siliconangle/2011/12/07/future-of-advertising-is-data-facebooks- numbers-staggaring-800-million-users-500-million-active-per-day/ Hofer-Shall, Z. (2010, March 12). What is social intelligence? Retrieved from WVU eReserve on April 18, 2012 from https://reserves.lib.wvu.edu/engineIncludes/download.php?id=1204046262 How to Calculate Your Score. (n/d). Netpromoter.com. Retrieved on May 3, 2012 from
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